RIYADH – A top Saudi cleric has slammed suicide attacks by Islamist martyrdom-seekers as devilish acts that do not qualify as jihad, a Saudi newspaper reported on Friday. “He (a suicide bomber) claims to be a mujahed (holy warrier) in the name of Allah, but he is not. He is fighting in the name of the devil who has tempted him and convinced him” to carry out the attack, said Sheikh Saleh al-Fawzan. “A Muslim is prohibited from killing himself,” the member of the Saudi supreme council of Islamic scholars said in a lecture in Riyadh, according to Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.
He said acts of violence branded as jihad, or Muslim holy war, were nothing more than “sabotage.” “This is not jihad. This is sabotage and unrightful killing,” the cleric said, adding that jihad in Islam should only be declared by the leader of the Muslim community. “Jihad has rules and regulations. It should be called for by the leader of the Muslims,” he said.
Martyrs in the Islamic faith are promised generous rewards in paradise. Fawzan also condemned the New Year’s Day bombing of a Coptic church in Alexandria, Egypt that killed 21 churchgoers, slamming it as an act of “treachery.” The newspaper termed his condemnation of suicide attacks as unprecedented in a country which was home to 15 out of the 19 hijackers of the passenger planes used in the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States (Leader Post, Jan 7, 2011, Regina, SK, Canada)
Well about damn time I read a story from a Muslim cleric condemning these unrighteous acts of suicide bombing. Innocent people are being killed in the name of God (Allah) – if that ain’t blasphemy I am not sure what is.
But here we see a movement towards modernism of the ideas of ‘jihad’. Jihad is about the struggle and the fight, mostly internal and sometimes external, but suicide does not factor into such an idea. I would compare jihad to the idea of Christians ‘iron sharpens iron’ .
These more modern notions of terrorism (or war as some call it) are horrible in nature, but what is even worse is the hatred for anything ‘different’ than you – a lack of tolerance. What the cleric seems to be doing is trying to bridge the gap between the West and the East and move towards ideals of brotherly compatriotism versus wiping someone out because they are not you.
Modern ideal at work here – tolerance for people different than you…I am guessing each religion can find in their faith where tolerance towards other faiths is applauded.
“O people of the Book! come to common terms as between us and you: that we worship none but Allah.” (Sura 3:64)